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Publisher's Summary

In a world at war, four youths try to determine what's really worth fighting for.

For more than twenty years, the Homeland has been immersed in a brutal, unwinnable war. Young men are drafted and sent to fight in a faraway jungle. Those who come back are scarred in body and mind. Lance, two weeks shy of turning eighteen, has watched his older brothers leave and his mother fall apart when they fail to return. He's never imagined a different future for himself - until he meets an idealistic young woman named Lorrie and impulsively flees town with her.

In Western City North, on the edge of the Homeland, Lance and Lorrie move into the same building as Benny and Joe, two friends up for induction. Along with Alan, a young runaway, they frantically evade Registry agents intent on tracking down draft dodgers. With induction day looming and paranoia rampant, the only way for any of them to stay free is to uncover the truth about their uncertain world - and the forces seeking to control it. Jonah C. Sirott's breathtaking debut is about hope, survival, and the challenge of pushing past the limits our world draws around us.

©2015 Jonah C. Sirott (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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A Grim Vision of the Future

The author weaves a grim tale of a future where war seems to go on forever draining the Homeland of money, hope and young men who are drafted and sent to battle, only to return broken and disabled, if they return at all. It is a bleak future made bleaker still be the nomenclature of the world. The main country is The Homeland, their allies are Allied Country P. The monetary system is called Currencies. Ideologies are numbered, ideology 5 is the most reviled. By disassociating the tale from our world, the author seems to be saying that this could happen anywhere anytime, if the people allow their governments to do so. It is a universal tale, an anywhen tale. I found this nomenclature to be intriguing, but it had a cost. Without familiar symbols to attach to, I felt less close to the world and less invested in the outcome. It certainly was a brilliant tool for creating a gray bleak world.

The level of technology and the story of the long jungle War with its forever draft seemed to fit as allegory for the Vietnam War, but in 2013 when it was published, and in 2018 when I read it, Vietnam seems worlds away and if that was the point, it meant very little to me.

However that's not to say that this was an unsuccessful novel. The author follows in Orwell's footsteps and expands upon his bleak vision of a future made dark and foreboding by war of ideology. It is also a personal portrait of a group of teens torn by the psychological pressures of a draft they cannot dodge...of an end they know is coming. They hope and scheme and flail, but their world offers little hope. This novel is a slow burn and all that's left is the stub of a nation.